Water has been and is used as a binder because of the strength of it's surface tension and because it act as a lubricant. Water is also very good at wetting particles for example starch is aided and carried by water.
Water by it's self is only (for the most part) a temporary binder that is used in waste disposal of dust. For example: it has been difficult for factories to control and remove dust. But if this waste dust is wetted with water and agglomerated it is now in a form that is easy to collect and dispose of.
My own experience is as follows: I read on the List that it might be possible to briquette fine powdered charcoal if wetted with water and allowed to dry in it's form. So I placed some charcoal in my blender with water and reduced the charcoal to a very fine dust. This material seemed almost oily like. It stuck together quit well, when wet. I was sure that when it would dry that my briquette would stick together. I was WRONG!
When it was dry I tried to pick it up, at this point I was confident, but as soon as my fingers grasped the briquette it just disappeared into a cloud of dust. So I looked at my other sample and it looked so perfect but again the slightest touch would cause it to return to dust!
So, water is a binder but as soon as the water evaporates the binder is gone. But that is not the whole story. Water plays an important role in starch binders, hydrogen bonding and as a lubricant. We will look at this in later articles.